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Great Escape 2012: Day 2 Afternoon Roundup – 11th May 2012

 
By on Monday, 28th May 2012 at 1:00 pm
 

On paper, my Friday had the most challenging schedule for the entire weekend, with 2 panel sessions (and a performance in between, all the way down on the seafront – eep!), and lots of and lots of band clashes. It had the potential to be the most frustrating day of all, but to be honest, it actually worked out fine, thanks to my planning and some accidental run-ins with some TGTF favourites. First, I’ll explain what happened in the afternoon…

After getting shut out of a morning session because “it’s full up” (I’d been to sessions the day before and people could stand on the sides if they’d arrived late; I can only guess I was refused entry b/c I was a mere 10 minutes tardy), I spent some time walking and window shopping round the North Laines area of Brighton, where there are lots of cutesy little independent shops. Forget cute shoes, there are cobblestones, my friends. Brighton, like DC, has colourful murals on the sides of buildings, except in Brighton, they’re on the sides of pubs. Take for example this unusual one of legendary soul singer James Brown:

I met up with my local PR friend Ed and we went to a charming little café. I’ve never seen mozzarella on a burger before but I ordered it and it really hit the spot. I should have photographed it, the chef lady put a massive slice on top of my beef. Totally epic. But good thing I was all sorted out with food, since we would be soaking up some drinks later on in the day. We headed down the hill and to the sea…but not for the sea. For bands, of course!

Like SXSW, the Great Escape has pretty good daytime programming, including a pretty active scene thanks to the Alternative Escape. At the seafront club LIFE, Euphonios, Killing Moon, the Recommender and Strongroom Alive were putting on a great showcase all afternoon. This was great, as the weather had finally turned the corner, the sun was shining, and I was able to check out Savoir Adore (who took the spot of an absent Saint Saviour) and I Dream in Colour in this unique performance space, akin to an attic or loft with a window.

Speaking of the word ‘later’ and time, I wish I had known about Savoir Adore so much earlier. I’m happy to say, though, that unlike most Americans who have stumbled onto them in the last couple weeks, I did not come to know them by the Tide laundry detergent telly advert featuring their song ‘Pop Goes the World’. (I think it’s highly possible to be their ‘5 Years’ Time’-style breakout, so if it gets them more fans, all the better.) The band from New York City had to do a stripped set in the cramped LIFE upstairs stage, but they sounded amazing. I’m rather glad they don’t live far from me; I’m hoping that means they’ll tour in DC again soon enough. Watch a clip of their song ‘Loveliest Creature’ below.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dxt9sKLr2UY[/youtube]

I had promised Shell Zenner I’d swing by the Queens Hotel to say hello while she did her on-site broadcast for Amazing Radio. When I arrived, I was kind of surprised their set up was literally in the middle of the lobby. What was to stop any streaking bands? Oh wait… I did however go downstairs to catch half of Sissy and the Blisters’ set on the Amazing Radio stage. Loud and balls to the wall, exactly what hung over festival goers needed to start day 2 at the Great Escape. Me? I headed up and back out to return to LIFE, wanting to save my ears for later.

I Dream in Colour’s fan base keeps growing by leaps and bounds, and the London via Essex band stuck this date at the Alternative Escape in before the following weekend’s ‘London’ single launch in, where else, London. (Read John’s review of their latest single here.) Singer Richard Judge looked particularly smart and respectable in a blindingly white dress shirt, which was deliciously at odds when he picked up his guitar and became Mr. Rock Star. And if you were wondering, yes, I love it when he’s on his guitar. Personally, I think it suits him more than when he’s behind the keys. But that’s just me…

Then it was back up the hill with Ed to attend Record of the Day’s discussion entitled, “What’s the point of music reviews in the digital age?” Obviously, this is something of interest to all music bloggers worth their salt, because we all want to be professional writers someday. Former Q editor-in-chief Paul Rees said something I truly applauded: he said labels shouldn’t penalise reviewers with annoying stream versions of albums and that more often than not, it’s someone inside the label that’s leaking albums, not the journalists. Well said.

Then I personally caused a moment of silence when I asked if the reason why most publications and even music Web sites now run 100-word album reviews (obviously not long enough to fully explain any part of an album) and if this was a symptom of the lack of attention span for most internet users. You could hear the crickets. I wasn’t sure if they wanted to punch me for being insolent, or they just refused to admit that what I’d described was exactly what was happening on the Internet.

Feeling like I needed to explain myself, I chatted with freelancer Will Hodgkinson of the Times and Mojo writing fame after the session to agree with what he’d replied with, that we should be giving our readers credit and not dumb content down for them. With that, I felt proud of what we do here at TGTF: there’s a reason why there are more words for all of our reviews you will see on this Web site: I’d rather you have a more complete picture of an album rather than the soundbite-y types that have become far too commonplace on the Web. If you can’t commit to read one of our reviews, you must not care enough about music, because we love what we do. And if our reviews aren’t what you want, then I’d rather you go somewhere else.

I huffed and wheezed my way back down to the Queens Hotel with every intention of seeing Mammal Club there. Unfortunately, I got conflicting reports about whether the band from Newcastle was performing by people I saw in the lobby. To be sure, I went downstairs to check out who was performing and whoever was on sounded nothing like Mammal Club, so either the times had changed or I didn’t recognise them. Either way, I missed them. I also missed them at Liverpool Sound City, because they were playing the same night and time as our stage. Boo.

Instead, I headed back to LIFE in the hopes of running into more bloggers at the Blog Up event that had started earlier in the afternoon. It was getting close to finished, and Shell Zenner was back at it, spinning tunes from her beloved iPad. Who should I run into but Breaking More Waves’ Robin? What an exceedingly nice and sweet chap! Seeing I’d never met him before, it was great to finally see him. To me as a blogger, this was what was so great about both the Great Escape and Sound City: being American, I rarely go to events where there are huge groupings of bloggers.

Besides Robin, I had also met Ollie of Memphis Industries (who always ReTweets our Dutch Uncles and Field Music-related Tweets – cheers Ollie!) and Matthew of Song, by Toad the day before as well, which was also very cool. My heart warmed every time I heard someone say to me, “oh yeah! I read There Goes the Fear all the time!” and “so it’s you who runs it! So wonderful you could come over to America for this, nice to meet you!” When I am at home, I am reminded by the personal difficulty to set up interviews and press passes in America that TGTF isn’t a household name in America…yet. We’re no Pitchfork or Stereogum; we don’t try to be either and I don’t want us to be like either too. We’re doing what we want to do, the way we want to…and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

 

Live Review: The Airborne Toxic Event with Morning Parade and Sissy and the Blisters at London Heaven – 10th February 2011

 
By on Tuesday, 22nd February 2011 at 2:00 pm
 

It’s been a bit of a roller coaster for the Airborne Toxic Event over the last two years. They’ve risen from obscurity to playing huge theatres with symphony orchestras, selling out increasingly big concerts along the way. All of this, let’s not forget, was on the back of their debut album that seems so distant now. Their second album is now finished and they’ll be out promoting that then, but tonight, the HMV Next Big Thing festival has called them to London Heaven for one of the biggest shows of the fortnight. You can’t help but think that the name of the event doesn’t quite fit the act on stage, but without anything to promote, this is a real fans’ show.

First though, come two of the brightest sparks on the English music scene. First up are Essex’s Morning Parade. With their mix of mainstream rock influences from electronic through to punk, they light up the stage with the soaring Under the Stars and new single ‘A&E’. They don’t exactly rock the place to its core, but for an act that few assembled know, they do a good job. Which is kind of interesting, comparatively that is. Sissy and the Blisters do things loud, brash and tamely angry, if you can put the two words together. Their lead singer storms around the stage like a bonafide rock star and their music isn’t far from it either. Imagine if the Horrors all suddenly got angry and wrote it all down, and you’ve got something similar to the energy of Sissy and the Blisters. The crowd may not have known either of tonight’s support acts, but with such diversity between them, everyone’s bound to be listening to one of those acts after the night’s done.

The Airborne Toxic Event tonight have nothing to gain or lose. This is the nearest to the calm before the storm they’ll probably get for quite some time when second record ‘All at Once’ is released. Not that anyone’s told them that. They’re going for it as they would every night, with passion and commitment to the brilliant live sound they’re becoming renowned for. New tracks feature heavily, but they’re subsided with their power and the crowd’s dedication to enjoying every minute. ‘All I Ever Wanted’, which features on the band’s live album of the same name, appears to have already been learnt by fans, as is new single ‘Changing’, which brings a smile to the band’s faces.

“Speaking of…little Miss Catherine…” begins the song ‘Happiness is Overrated’, but is continued by frontman Mikel Jollett joking with, “who doesn’t know that thousands of people in London are singing about her right now” before engaging in a huge singalong of “Sorry, I really lost my head…”, really demonstrating the great connection the Airborne Toxic Event share with their fans. They’re hugely appreciative of the fans that gained them such a quick and loyal following, and it really shows. ‘Sometime Around Midnight’ is, as expected, the biggest track of the evening, as the emotions around the venue tonight really sweep me away as if everyone in the room can relate to such a personal track’s soul.

All that said, it’s not a melancholy affair at all. Everyone present’s enjoying themselves, and I can spot bobbing heads and mouthed lyrics all the way to the back bar throughout (I checked). The new tracks demoed tonight don’t show a step away from the sounds of their self-titled record, but they show a maturing in both musicianship and lyric writing. Everything abouttThe Airborne Toxic Event that their followers love is still there, and now it’s even more refined, without losing its edge. Gasoline is a huge way to close the set and night closer All At Once is a real benchmark for their future. Where 2011 will take this band, I’m not sure, but at the current rate, the sky’s the limit.

 
 
 

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There Goes The Fear is where we tell you about the latest music, gigs, and tours we love and think you should too.

We love music that has its heart on its sleeve, tells a story, swims around our head all day or makes us dance like no-one's watching.

TGTF was edited by Mary Chang, based in Washington, DC.

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